Oliver Gassner on Wed, 28 Aug 2002 18:11:49 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> a modest proposal for josephine bosma

On Tue, 27 Aug 2002 16:21:10 +0200, Florian Cramer
<cantsin@zedat.fu-berlin.de> wrote:


I'd just like to elaboare on some of your side-notes.

>The city where I live, Berlin, is rich with Turkish-origin immigrant
>cultures bearing all the "hybrid" attributes of postcolonialism (Turkish
>rap, Turkish tranvestites etc.), but: Turkey has never been colonized by
>the West. In general, immigrants in Germany and many other European
>countries to the largest part do not come from formerly colonized
>countries, or could only defined as postcolonials if you really stretch
>the term. On the other, I could - as a native German Berliner born in the
>Western part of the city - rightfully claim to be a postcolonial subject,
>because West-Berliners had neither West nor East German citizenship (and
>thus neither passports, nor the right to vote for national elections)
>before 1990 and lived (formally) under French, British and US-American
>military occupation rule. - Of course it would be BS to call former
>West-Berliners postcolonial subjects.

I visited Berlin several times, first time was 1987 with the 'wall' still
intact. My host said "If I ever leave Berlin I will not go to
West-Germany, nothing binds me to West-Germany." This was when I began to
understand that Berlin (and maybe even East-Berlin) was different from
'West-Germany' or 'Germany' and the 'rule' that Berlin was under and the
fact that it was e.g. used as a 'safe haven' for those who wished to evade
drafting maybe really made it into a colony-like construct (probably in
structure or 'idea' or... hm... semantics comparable to Hongkong). NOT
because the 'colonizers' controlled or influenced it in any way but
because it's citizens considered themselves 'different' from both their
'original home country' (which for a colony lies in the past but for
Berlin & Hongkong was aa coexisting parallel "world") and from their
'colonizers' which in the case of West-Berlin controlled every movement if
you wanted to leave the city. (I'll include GDR/USSR in that group of
colonizers for reasons of logic.)

>So I find "postcolonialism" a somewhat limited term, coined by people who
>apparently couldn't even imagine that there is any other form of migration
>and cultural hybridity than as an after-effect of (chiefly) British
>colonialism. (And why does their "postcolonialism" fit factually
>on-colonial Turkish migrant cultures, but not, for example, factually
>postcolonial cultures in Eastern Europe or ex-Soviet republics?)

Again this brings up a new idea (for me, I am sure sociologists made that
parallel earlier).

Turkey was a country you might call 'self-colonized'. At one point (as far
as I am informed) Atatürk made a rule that european clothing was to be
worn and that the languange was to be written using Latin script instread
of Arabic script. (Those are the items I know, I suspect that Atatürk made
more rules than that.)

This again reminds of Japan which also underwent an (extremely planned)
"westerinzation" (do you call it that?). Japan even went so far to
construct a 'patchwork culture' by 'importing' chunks of 'culture' from
differnt counties. (They imported the traffic rules from Britain and this
they drive 'on the wrong side of the read', they imported law (the BGB)
[and Medicine] fom Germany, thus the 'scientific language' for both
sciences was German (is this still the case?).

Now just a rough idea: Both cultures: Turkish and Japanese seem to have a
basic structure that eagerly adopts innovation - probably as an 'effect'
from this culture-import. At least this is my impression: new trends seem
to spread faster among the Japanese or among the Turkish population (in
Germany) than in other countries and tend to be more 'extreme'. (My
impresion was that at some point (maybe 3 years ago) far more
German-Turkish (male) youths had mobile phones than German youths OR they
used them more openly... -- but this might be a distortion of perception
or might have had other social reasons [like: evading control from more
authoritarian parents].)

Oliver Gassner

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